As a whole, we don’t like things that are hard or different. Most of our lives are spent trying to be efficient, doing as little work to accomplish the greatest gain, or so we think. The same is true for our expectations of worship music. Over the course of the last 6-7 decades, the range in which our church music is composed, played, and sung has decreased, making older hymns seem difficult to sing. We also have simplified the vocabulary – almost turning classic literature into YA brain candy. I’m not trying to pick on a particular style of music. If the theological content is consistent with Scripture, I’ll be the first to defend it. But I also believe that there is something to be said for working hard at and taking in the beauty and, yes, challenge of church music from years ago.
Here’s another vote for repetition in the pew and in the home. A way to tuck Scripture into the memory by setting it to music, making it something that is more easily recalled at a later date when you hear that familiar tune. I was actually surprised that I was able to sing along during our time of hospital visitation when the pastor started hymns of comfort. I want the same for my kids in their time of need, so it’s something that I, too, have to work on in between Sundays (and Wednesdays) when they are sung at church.
So I’m going to start highlighting hymns here – for my own edification, that of my children, and to hopefully preserve an amazing treasure of the church. It is my hope that I will post at least one new hymn or hymn segment for each worship service we attend. I look forward to sharing them and looking at them again with fresh eyes myself. Might even have to pull out a dictionary and learn some new vocabulary along the way.